Commentary: Cole Kmet needs to step up after Montgomery's injury
|Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 11:54 AM- -|
Lost in the shuffle of the Bears win was a pair of injuries that may hamper the Bears over the next few weeks. While one of the injuries isn't as severe as the other, David Montgomery suffered the worst of the injuries. After running wild against the Lions for most of the game, Montgomery went down late in the second half with what looked to be a knee injury.
At the time, the Bears coaching staff didn't believe it was a tear of the ACL. Thankfully, that isn't the case, but the Bears didn't get off the hook that easy as Montgomery will miss significant time. The initial diagnosis is better than it could have been, but look for him still to miss 4-5 weeks with a knee sprain.
Considering the start to the season he has gotten off to, rushing for 309 yards, good for fifth in the league, and three scores, this is a significant blow to the Bears offense, who finally started to show signs of life last week. With him on the shelf, Chicago will need to adapt quickly because things won't get any easier in the weeks ahead.
Typically, with Montgomery down, the Bears wouldn't miss a beat as Tarik Cohen would be the next man up. However, he is coming off a torn ACL and is still on the PUP list for another three weeks, making him inactive for the time being. Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert are both on this roster, but if you remember, Williams also got dinged up (thigh) during the game on Sunday, so who knows how healthy he is.
For the time being, Williams and Herbert are more than capable of shouldering the running back load by committee, especially when you look at what Williams did in the Superbowl a few years ago. That was the first time he was counted on as an every-down back, and he played a significant role in the Chiefs comeback win.
Herbert is only a rookie and has seen minimal carries despite showing flashes in the preseason on special teams. While on the field in the preseason, Herbert showed the ability to make plays even if blockers were not in front of him. Look for him to start seeing more carries in the coming weeks as the Bears try to continue to improve on offense.
With Montgomery and Cohen both down for the next three-plus weeks, the Bears have only two active RBs on their roster in Williams and Herbert. With that being the case, look for them to potentially call someone up from the practice squad as Ryan Nall and Artavius Pierce are the most likely candidates. Nall has been nothing more than a package RB who has designed plays to get him on the field.
Pierce was an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State in 2020 who not only made the team, but played well when on the field. He could benefit from the injuries as the Bears still believe he is a great player waiting for the right situation. In either regard, this team needs to figure things out soon as their schedule will continue to get tougher.
One thing the Bears haven't done offensively this season is utilized the tight end role in which both Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet have done next to nothing offensively. They will now have to take on more significant roles in both blocking in pass protection and producing on offense.
When the Bears offense is at their best, the TE position is often the most important piece. Matt Nagy has always loved to use that position, and for the most part, he has done a decent job with it in terms of moving the chains to pick up first downs and scoring in the red zone.
Montgomery has been the Bears' best threat in the red zone this season, and with him down, it is time for the Bears to find a new threat. Fans have seen Graham be that threat in the past, and they are hopeful that will continue again, but Kmet needs to step up and step up now. The more he produces, the less pressure will fall on Williams and others to make up for the irreplaceable loss of Montgomery.